A Few Common Computer Errors

By , January 27, 2015 12:03 am

(And What They Mean

Computer errors can pop up when least expected, they can cause the entire system to suddenly shut down, and they can inadvertently corrupt data to the point where it can’t be deciphered. Although they can’t always be avoided, it’s important to remember that computer errors can be corrected. The key is to understand what computer errors are, understand what they mean when they show up, and understand how to minimize their occurrence in the first place.

Basically, computer errors are the result of a number of things that may or may not have anything to do with the way the computer is used. They “operate” whenever there’s a conflict among commands. Remember that computers essentially run off of a series of commands and it’s usually a smooth process. But when one command conflicts with another command – or when one command asks for a process or information that isn’t available, the computer returns results that aren’t useable. That’s an error.

A prime example of this kind of error is when users attempt to use software that isn’t applicable for their system. Almost all software accompanies a list of system requirements which dictates what a computer needs to have in order for the software to work properly. To minimize errors of this sort, always verify that your computer has the required components. A project management program that you’re interested in may require a specific operating system, like Windows XP for example. And although this program may install just fine on a Windows 98 machine, it will generate a multitude of errors once its started.

Insufficient memory will cause errors as well. That’s why software programs include minimum memory requirements. A program that needs 14MB of memory will generate errors on a computer that only has 4MB of memory if it runs at all. The same goes for disk space, monitor color depth and resolution. In these situations, problems occur the moment that a piece of software attempts to access the things (hardware, memory, space, resolution, etc. that it cannot find.

Because some programs share common files, errors can also occur when these shared files are not up to date. For instance, let’s say that Program A is already installed on a computer and it’s working just fine. Then let’s say that the user of that computer downloads and installs Program B. Program B uses a file that Program A installed much earlier, but when Program B is run, errors popup. Those errors are the result of Program B attempting to use an outdated (shared file that was installed by Program A. In order to fix that problem, the user would have to download an updated version of the shared file (which to say the least – is not an easy thing to find or do.

Sometimes, errors occur because a system doesn’t have the required drivers or the drivers that are on the system are the incorrect version. Both errors in these cases can be resolved by updating the computer on a regular basis. Microsoft provides a section on its website that can automatically update a computer online and it does this at no cost in an effort to reduce errors like this. Always try to keep your computer updated so that should a program share a file, it will share a file that has been updated on hundreds of thousands of computers, like yours.

This article doesn’t even begin to cover the entire gamut of computer errors – but additional information regarding how to get help with a computer issue (including computer errors can be found in our article titled, “Computer Help” no matter what the problem is.


Steps on Connecting a Pocket PC to Your Computer

By , January 25, 2015 3:54 am

There will be times that you have to connect to your personal computer to update or download and upload files. Occasionally, your notebook or desktop computer will serve as the power source to be able to charge your battery in your Pocket PC. Connection to your personal computer is also crucial for the synchronization of changes or update that you have made via your Pocket PC.

In this activity, you’ll just need your Pocket PC, your personal computer and a specialized cable wire that is included when you bought your Pocket PC. Oh yes, and a whole lot of patience because a task like this sometimes need sufficient self-esteem.

Before plugging anything into the cradles or ports, be sure that you have the appropriate tools first. You have to be familiar with the user guide or the manual for your Pocket PC. This in this way, you’ll become more acquainted with the important matters regarding your Pocket PC connections and specifications.

Organize the different accessories and parts which include the USB cradle and connector cable, AC adapter, and finally, the software installation CD. You need all of these just in case something comes up.

Place the software installation CD in you personal computer’s CD-ROM drive. This is the first step to be able to connect your Pocket PC in your computer. Follow these instructions clearly so that you won’t encounter any kind of problem while doing your processing.

Upon entering the CD, locate the link wherein it will show you how to install the Pocket PC software in your desktop. To help you through the entire process, an installation wizard will pop up. In some cases, you may have to restart your computer to be able to complete installation. This usually happens when your desktop computer differs from its operating system.

Plug your USB cradle into your USB port to be able to connect your Pocket PC in your computer. Next, plug the compatible end of the AC adapter in the slot of the USB cradle and one correct end of into the electrical outlet found in the wall.

Once you have done this, place your Pocket PC in the USB cradle. You can now start charging your Pocket PC’s main battery or either synchronizes it into your personal computer. Aside from charging, you can start uploading and downloading files to or fro.

Other Pocket PCs came in with Bluetooth. Connecting to a Bluetooth-enable computer is possible if your Pocket PC is capable for Bluetooth.

Once you have set up a connection between your personal computer and Pocket PC, you can have the opportunity to perform various commands and process through and infrared sensor. This only applies if both your personal computer and Pocket PC is enabled with infrared. Always read your user’s guide to become more familiar with the environment of connecting and synchronizing.

If you’re having problems with opening the installation wizard, click “start”. Select the “run” and then click on the “browse” button to be able to locate the CD-ROM drive. Choose the exe. file to start the software installation process.

Pins are considered as very fragile and sensitive. Therefore, it is a must that the contracts are properly aligned before securing your Pocket PC by pushing it down to the USB cradle.

10 Tips To Shopping For Printers

By , January 23, 2015 6:09 am

$Consider the printer’s DPI (dots per inch) capability, which is the resolution at which it can print photos and documents. The higher DPI (dots per inch) you have, the better quality you will have in either text or photo printouts.

$Consider the cost of ink. When purchasing a new printer, take a moment to compare prices among ink cartridges and make sure that you can afford frequent ink purchases if you plan to do a lot of printing.

$Take a look at the connector and ma…
computer printers
$Consider the printer’s DPI (dots per inch) capability, which is the resolution at which it can print photos and documents. The higher DPI (dots per inch) you have, the better quality you will have in either text or photo printouts.

$Consider the cost of ink. When purchasing a new printer, take a moment to compare prices among ink cartridges and make sure that you can afford frequent ink purchases if you plan to do a lot of printing.

$Take a look at the connector and make sure it’s compatible with your system. Most new printers connect via a USB port. Older ones connect using a parallel port, which is not commonly found on new PCs.

$When looking at the cost of ink, also look at the number of pages a single ink cartridge can print. If the page count is high, the cost of the ink may be reasonable. If the page count is low compared to other similar ink cartridges, you may want to select another printer that offers a better performing ink cartridge.

$Check out the warranty. All new electronics, including printers, carry a manufacturer’s warranty. Depending on the company, warranties can be valid anywhere from 90 days to 1 year and may include defects in material and/or workmanship. If your printer fails to perform correctly and develops a problem while under warranty, you will be glad that you saved the paperwork. Always keep the original purchase receipt and warranty information relating to your purchase.

$Buy from a name that you trust. When shopping for any item, it is best to purchase from a manufacturer that you know produces a quality product and especially when it comes to a substantial electronics purchase.

$Consider the size and weight of the printer. This is important for both cleaning general convenience. If your desk is small, you may not want a bulky printer taking up most of your space. At the same time, you may not want to lift on a heavy piece of equipment when cleaning your work station. A lightweight and compact style may be better, especially if your office is at home.

$Make sure that your computer is capable of running the printer software, which means it may require a specific processor type and speed, available memory, etc.

$Make sure that the printer you purchase has all of the features and capabilities that you need. For instance, if your primary goal is to produce realistic photos and you also plan to print written documents from time to time, consider the purchase of a photo printer. You can change the quality of printing to suit either images or documents or even a combination of both if you plan to print photo newsletters.

$Make sure that the printer has all of the necessary connector cables and that you will not need to buy any additional hardware prior to finalizing your purchase. If you need to purchase a USB cable, which is often the case with many new printers, you will want to purchase it at the same time to save on shipping if ordering online or having to make a special trip if you purchase locally.

Computer Desks – think before you buy

By , January 21, 2015 9:07 am

Many people buy a computer, only to find that it doesn’t really fit anywhere
Many people buy a computer, only to find that it doesn’t really fit anywhere. They can be big, awkwardly-shaped things, with a whole collection of wires and gadgets that all need somewhere to stand.

The solution is to get a computer desk. They don’t cost much, and they’re specially designed to hold all the peripherals a computer needs. There’s space for the monitor, speakers and mouse on the top, a shelf for the keyboard, and then compartments at the bottom for the system box itself and even for a printer or scanner. A good computer desk will also have holes and routes for all the various cables that are needed to tie it all together and make it work. All you need is a comfortable office chair, and you’re set.

With the rise of wireless networking, it is even possible to have computer desks in places you wouldn’t otherwise have thought of, as long as you have an electrical outlet handy. All you need to do is add a wireless card to the computer and plug the connection into a router, and then you can use the Internet without having to run network cables all over the place. This works especially well in offices, where lots of computer may be networked together, or, worse, networked to one printer or server.

In larger computing environments, it is possible to get big computer desks that are set up for multiple computers, making it easier for a team to work together on them. Some desks even come with computers integrated, meaning that the working parts of the computer can be hidden much better, a bit like a kitchen with built-in appliances. However, the downside of too much integration between the computers and the desks is that it can make the computers much more difficult to repair if they happen to break.

About Norton Anti-Virus

By , January 19, 2015 12:32 pm

With the many types of anti-virus software, it is helpful to read a brief description of what the different types do and how they can be beneficial to you and your computer.

Norton Anti-virus

Symantec’s Norton AntiVirus software is perhaps the world’s most trusted antivirus solution. It is available for both Windows PC’s, and Macintosh (Symantec Antivirus for Macintosh – S.A.M). Norton AntiVirus is a very reliable and easy-to-use anti-virus product. It’s the best anti-…
norton antivirus, anti virus, norton, virus, trojan horse
With the many types of anti-virus software, it is helpful to read a brief description of what the different types do and how they can be beneficial to you and your computer.

Norton Anti-virus

Symantec’s Norton AntiVirus software is perhaps the world’s most trusted antivirus solution. It is available for both Windows PC’s, and Macintosh (Symantec Antivirus for Macintosh – S.A.M). Norton AntiVirus is a very reliable and easy-to-use anti-virus product. It’s the best anti-virus product for catching viruses in downloaded files and E-mail. Norton AntiVirus is also more expensive than McAfee VirusScan although not by much, and the added abilities of Norton can easily make up the difference.

Norton AntiVirus includes many tools that can be run in the background, including watching for suspicious PC activity and automatically checking downloaded files for viruses. Norton AntiVirus is also automatically configured to handle E-mail virus scanning for email messages coming into your computer, as well as those you send. This process automatically scans and cleans both incoming and outgoing email, stopping viruses from infecting your computer or spreading to others. It removes viruses automatically, without interrupting your work and prevents infections during real-time online chats, and also detects viruses in instant-message attachments. Because so many viruses and internet worms are now spread using email and Instant Message Systems, this is extremely valuable and necessary protection.

Norton Installation

Installation is simple. Simply install the CD in your CD drive, and the installer will launch automatically. The installer should ask you if you want to do a pre-install scan of your system for viruses. This is a very good thing to do. Once this is finished, the installation will proceed, and you can accept all the defaults without worry. Once the installation is complete, you’ll be prompted to go online and get up-to-date virus definitions. DO NOT skip this step. Having up-to-date virus definitions is essential to the performance of any antivirus software.

Normal Use

Norton is a very hands-off program. Pretty much it is an install and forget program that looks after itself. It will automatically notify you if there is anything that you need to do. If a virus is found, the software will try to automatically repair the file, if it can’t, it will place the file in a safe ‘quarantine’ zone, and let you know. In addition to looking for known viruses, the Norton Antivirus Bloodhound feature tries to spot new viruses and worms by their behaviour that is common to such nasty programs.

Checking your system and downloading updates are two things you need to do regularly. Norton Antivirus makes them painless by setting up a full system scan once a week and checking for new updates (both to the software, and virus definitions) whenever you’re online. These simple update scans hardly slow down your PC down at all.

Overall, Norton Antivirus is an excellent way to guard against viruses. It is the system that I recommend to my clients most often, and that I use personally.

Revealing Parts Of A Laptop

By , January 17, 2015 3:36 pm

Before considering buying a laptop, buyers must research first for the brand of laptops that suits their needs and wants. Still, it does not end there. A laptop is considered the same as a desktop computer. It is but the laptop is considerably more sensitive than the desktop computers. So as a laptop user it is a must that they must know the parts of the laptop. It is a good source in extracting brand reviews.

The battery is one of the parts of the laptop. It is for maintaining a good source of power for the laptop. Users plug it in the main switch to be charged. They can do this while working. Once it is full, it can now be used without the help of electricity. It is one of the things that make the laptop better than the desktop. The power cord and the power adapter work together in converting the high voltage of electricity when charged to the low voltage power needed by the laptop.

The screen hinges is considered by many as the two main parts of a laptop since it combines the panel and the base. The webcam in the laptop is separate from the LCD screen. It is positioned in the display panel on top while the screen cable is the one that connects the motherboard into the display panel.

The LCD screen is in the display panel. Most of the time, it is not applicable for repair in case it is cracked or broken. It is considered as one of the most expensive and highly sensitive parts of a laptop.

The wireless network card is connected to the motherboard. It helps the users to connect to the internet without using any cable. The sound board which comprises of microphone and headphone jack as well as volume control are attached to the motherboard also. The video card is closely related with the whole operating system of the laptop. If the card is no longer functioning, users have to replace the motherboard. Video cards can be removed from the motherboard. The cooling fan is also necessary to maintain the normal coolness or temperature of the laptop.

The CD/DVD drive is for the users to extract information that they need from these sources. The keyboard is connected to the motherboard. It can also be removed from the motherboard just like the video card. The processor is considered as the brain of the laptop and any other digital computers. It is commonly called as the Central processing Unit (CPU). The hard drive is the main storage room of all data and programs in the laptop. The memory is replaceable. It varies on the brand of the laptop. It is installed for better use of the laptop. The motherboard is the most important part of the laptop. It is where all the internal components are installed.

The parts of the laptop vary depending on its ease of use. Most laptop brands have less battery time. Some have great memory capacity. They have done this because users have different needs and wants. Therefore, laptop makers have to satisfy those needs to be able to generate a sale.

Things To Consider When Upgrading Laptop Parts

By , January 15, 2015 6:11 pm

The laptop is a great alternative to the desktop if you are always on the go, and although a laptop’s performance is generally lower than that of a desktop, you can do some major upgrades that can match up with, if not exceed, the capabilities of a desktop. Most laptops cannot handle additional laptop computer parts and add-ons, so you have to consider the option to purchase features that can run particular programs that will be added at a later date.

Cheaper models are in no way at par with the high-end ones as far as functionality is concerned, but you also have to remember that ample research about the wide range of available laptop components in the market is very essential. It can help you figure out which ones are sufficient for the type of tasks you are going to do on a consistent basis once you have the laptop in your possession.

It is always best to go for high memory when purchasing a new laptop. If you want your laptop’s performance to improve, the best plan of action is to upgrade the memory to a level that can allow your laptop to handle all the programs that are running all at once. Laptops are equipped with slots where you can plug in the memory; some have one slot, and some have two. You can only replace the memory for a computer with one slot, so it is always a good idea to pick a replacement that is high enough to make the process worth it.

In the case of a laptop with two slots, you can simply plug in the additional memory to the empty slot, and that will add more memory on top of the previous one. Just remember that one of the slots should be replaced by a higher grade stick if both slots are occupied. A memory of at least 512 MB should be sufficient enough to allow additional laptop parts to be added without causing a slow down while your laptop is running multiple programs.

A meticulous approach should be used when considering an upgrade, mainly because compatibility should be taken into consideration when looking for suitable parts. Purchasing directly from the computer manufacturer should be quick and easy, but more expensive than buying the parts from upgrade specialist retailers. These retailers have the information and methodology to identify suitable parts for any particular model, so it’s always best to seek assistance from them.

The downside to owning a laptop these days is that the new one you just purchased might become obsolete in a few years. This can be quite frustrating since upgrading a laptop can be costly and difficult. Sometimes, it is best to purchase a new laptop instead of upgrading the old one’s components for this very reason. So if you’re going to buy a new laptop, make sure that its components are the latest in computer technology.

It’s a good thing that laptops have become quite cheaper in general because of the level of competition among computer manufacturers. You can always use this to your advantage when you are in the process of upgrading your laptop.

A thermal roll of proposed analysis techniques.

By , January 13, 2015 9:34 pm

Thermomechanical properties of a thermal roll sleeve with a copper alloy are obtained by a uniaxial tensile test for variation of temperature. The proposed analysis techniques have improved in caster roll design.
Thermal Roll
The thermal rolls of print media of this invention comprise a core/spindle and a sheet, preferably continuous, of a print medium of substantially the same width as the core/spindle. The sheet of print medium is wound around the core/spindle to provide a thickness of layered paper on the core/spindle of at least one half inch, measured from the periphery of the core/spindle to the outer layer of the sheet of print medium on the roll. At least one side of the wound sheet of print medium is marked with at least one impression which serves as an identifying mark. The “sides” of the roll of a print medium, as referred to herein, are where the edges of the wound print medium are exposed. The term “impression” as used herein includes shallow indentations as well as realignment of the edges of the wound print medium and realignment of the fibers within the wound print medium. In realigning the edges and/or fibers of the wound print medium, there may be no indentation which is detectable and in certain embodiments, no indentation at all.

Thermal paper rolls in the past is no longer true. While thermal tape used to be an uncommon alternative due to a short lifespan and high prices, it’s now the most viable choice. Recent developments have led to better technology, including advanced chemical films and more durable substrata.

The rolling force and roll deformation behavior in the twin-roll-type strip continuous casting process have been computed to estimate the thermal characteristics of a caster roll. To calculate the rolling force, the relationship between the flow stress and strain for a roll material and a casting alloy are assumed as a function of the strain rate and temperature, because the mechanical properties of casting materials depend on temperature. Temperature field data for a caster roll, provided by the authors, were used to estimate the roll deformation. Therfore, numerical models considering the thermal and rolling forces have been developed to estimate the roll life. Roll life considering the thermal cycle is calculated using thermal elastic-plastic analysis results. The roll life is proposed in terms of roll revolution in the caster roll models with and without the fine crack failure on the roll surface. To obtain plastic strain distributions of the caster roll, thermomechanical properties of a roll sleeve with a copper alloy are obtained by a uniaxial tensile test for variation of temperature. The proposed analysis techniques have improved in caster roll design.

Tag: Thermal Roll

Automating Things with Batch Files

By , January 12, 2015 12:51 am

They Work on Today’s Computers Too!

If you’re familiar with MS-DOS at all, you’ll recall that it’s a command-driven operating system that performs functions issued at the C:> prompt. The only way to get an MS-DOS computer to do something was to type a command at this prompt and if you can imagine, it was a rather cumbersome way to use a computer.

As an example, to load up Microsoft’s simple editing program, you had to type the name of the drive that the program was on, the directory that the program was in, and then the name of the program. So if Microsoft Edit was in a directory or folder named “Process,” you could start the program by typing, “C:>processedit.com” Then, and only then would the program load up for use.

This is a small command, but just imagine if you had a program that was deeply nested within a series of folder. You could end up typing a command as wide as your computer screen or worse, long enough that the entire command would have to wrap onto the next line! Now imagine having to type these long commands every time that you wanted to start a program. Yikes!

That’s one of the reasons why batch files became so popular. Batch files are small text-based documents that contain a bunch of these commands on their own lines. When executed, they would process each command without the user having to type each and every one of them.

When Windows was developed, the need for typing commands was essentially eradicated thanks to the introduction of the point-and-click (mouse interface. But this didn’t stop the batch file fever that started under MS-DOS – and in some small circles, batch files are still as popular as they were in the beginning.

Even though you may use Windows XP or Vista, batch files can save you tons of time by automatically starting multiple programs and performing different tasks at the single click of a button. They don’t require any extensive programming background and they don’t need to be encrypted with some weird, expensive compiler. Batch files are plain text files, and you can build one for your own personal use with Windows’ Notepad.

You could make a batch file that loads up your favorite websites at once for example, or you could make a batch file that fills your desktop with the most important applications for the day. To do so only requires a little knowledge about the locations of these applications.

Let’s say that every day we need to load up the Yahoo web browser, Microsoft Word, and then the calculator that comes with Windows. Instead of doing this by hand, we could write a batch file to do it for us.

First, we’d load up Notepad and type in the following:

START “http://www.yahoo.com”
START “c:/program files/microsoft office/office/winword.exe”
START “c:/windows/calc.exe”

We would then save this data into a file named, “mytasks.bat” onto the Desktop for easy access. Each time we double-clicked on this file, the Yahoo website would load up, Microsoft Word would start, and the simple calculator would pop up.

Since we want these programs to load every day, we could create a shortcut to this file and then place the shortcut inside our computer’s Start Up folder. That way, these three programs would load every time we turn on the computer. If you wanted these programs to start minimized, you could type the following into a batch file instead:

START http://www.yahoo.com /m
START “c:/program files/microsoft office/office/winword.exe” /m
START “c:/windows/calc.exe” /m

This will run all three programs as before, however the “/m” parameter will minimize them so that they don’t clutter up the desktop.

Other people have found much more creative and effective ways to use batch files, but the important thing is that you know they’re a resource you can use to save a few seconds or minutes in performing important tasks. We’ve come a long way from MS-DOS, but it’s still a valuable source of automation that anyone can use with no programming knowledge at all.


Acer Aspire 3004WLCi – A Quick Review

By , January 10, 2015 3:24 am

If you just need a basic system for work or school related tasks the Acer Aspire 3004WLCi is a solid performer that can handle average use with ease. I would definitely recommend this unit to college students or traveling professionals who need an inexpensive, user-friendly laptop, but who do not plan on using their laptop on batteries very often, or who do not intend on playing many games or movies. For the price conscious consumers out there, this system is definitely worth the money.
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I recently found myself in need of a new laptop. With a tight budget and moderate needs, I knew it wasn’t going to be easy to find a product that would do what I wanted and still be in my price range.

As a Network Technician and a Web Designer, I needed a machine that would have enough storage to store all my software, projects for my clients, and still be able to handle an occasional temporary operating system backup from a client’s machine. The qualifying candidate also had to have a decent amount of RAM and a reasonably fast processor to keep up with the demands of multitasking and using Studio MX ’04 on a daily basis.

At first, I checked the auction sites, the refurbished outlets, and the wholesale warehouses. I found a few good deals for under $500, but nothing that would handle the processing load that Studio MX 2004 would place on it. The average machine had 256MB of PC133 RAM, a 20GB HDD, and a 1.0GHz Pentium processor. Not too shabby for a student machine, but for daily service in the fields I work in, not nearly enough space or power to keep up with my demands.

I quickly realized that a new laptop would be needed in order to meet my needs. Realizing that most decent laptops are priced at over $1,000, I wasn’t expecting a whole lot when I started shopping around. However, to my surprise, a local retail chain had a special running on the Acer Aspire 3004WLCi for $600 after a $150 rebate. This was the top end of my budget, but the specs were far more than what I thought I would find in this price range.

Quick Specs:
AMD Mobile Sempron 3100+ (1.8GHz) w/ 256K L2 cache
512MB DDR333 SODIM RAM (expandable to 2GB)
60GB 4200rpm Hard Disk Drive
15.4 Wide Screen WXGA Monitor
CD-RW/DVD-ROM Combo Drive
3 USB 2.0 Ports (1 front / 2 side)
Front Audio / Microphone jacks
Integrated Microphone / Speakers
Integrated Audio Controller
Integrated Video Controller (up to 128MB shared)
Integrated 56Kbps Data/Fax Modem
Integrated 802.3 10/100 Ethernet NIC
Integrated 802.11b/g WiFi
Maximum screen resolution: 1280 x 800
External monitor maximum resolution: 2048 x 1536
One type II PCMCIA Slot
AC Power Adapter / 4-cell lithium-ion battery
1.5″Hx14.3″Wx11″D / 6.2lb. w/ Battery
Microsoft Windows XP Home SP2

OK, before I go into the Pros and Cons of this system, let me first say this… As a Network technician, I’m a bit of a stranger to Acer products. I’ve seen them before, but I’ve never used them. In an industry dominated by Dells and HPs, Acer seemed more of an “off-brand” to me. With that in mind, I wasn’t expecting a whole lot for my money. Fortunately, I was not disappointed, but neither was I entirely wrong.

Also, it is worthy to note that before I used this machine, XP Home was trashed in favor of XP Professional SP2 and I went through the system and performed several minor software performance tweaks on the operating system; all of which can be performed using the native Windows XP Pro utilities.

The Acer Aspire 3004 WLCi is a reasonably powerful system for $600. Even at the original $750, this system is hard to beat in the performance department. The Sempron 3100+ processor is surprisingly fast and capable. It handled running Dreamweaver MX 2004, Fireworks MX 2004, Microsoft Word 2003, Microsoft OneNote 2003, Firefox 1.5, Internet Explorer 6.0, Opera 8.5, Resize Browser, CPick, Java JRE, NOD32 Anti-Virus, Hotmail Popper, and several system services and minor utilities running in the background simultaneously and didn’t complain or produce any unacceptable sustained CPU usage spikes. This is partly due to the generous and fast 512MB of DDR333 RAM, but even so, the processor surprised this long-time AMD user.

The 60GB hard drive provides an ample amount of storage for average users. It is on the lower end of my requirements, but sufficiently large enough to handle all my installed software, over 12GB of service software needed for service calls, all my client projects, and it still has enough space left over to easily accommodate a 20GB client system backup.

In addition, this system has a very good Broadcom WiFi controller. In my 3 story townhouse, which has excellent insulation, this system can be used anywhere in my home with a signal strength of “Very Good” to “Excellent”.

The system is ergonomically laid out. I have rather large hands, and most modern laptops are entirely too small for me to realistically use for any extended period of time. Usually, within 20 or 30 minutes, my wrists and hands begin to ache from trying to maintain a very unnatural position in order to type the documents I’m working on. Not so with the Aspire 3000 series. These laptops have a relatively large chassis with a keypad that is almost perfect for someone with large hands. I’ve actually found that I can type nearly as fast (roughly 35wpm) on this laptop as I can on my desktop system that has an ergonomic split keyboard (40wpm).

If you’re looking for a Multimedia system, or if you plan to do any graphics intensive gaming, keep on looking; this system is not for you. Even with the widescreen WXGA display, this machine is not well suited for watching DVDs. The integrated video controller is only acceptable and the monitor requires a lot of “fiddling” with in order to find the “just right” position for viewing. Furthermore, the glare on the screen of this unit is terrible. I’ve found that in most brightly lit rooms I’m spending more time straining my eyes to see past my own reflection. Also, the viewing angle is unimpressive. If you try to view the screen from anything greater than 15 degrees in any direction, you’re either looking at a washed out or negative variation of the original. I’ve never been a big fan of LCD. I’ve always felt that a high quality CRT always looks better, but this screen is more reminiscent of a LCD of three years ago than a brand new product.

The integrated audio and video controllers are a definite sore spot as well. I’ve always preferred expansion controllers over integrated controllers, but in this price range, I knew I would be stuck with the so-so quality of an integrated controller. No surprise here. As usual, the quality and performance is sub-par with these controllers, but for my needs, they do the job. However, if you plan on listening to any audio playback on this machine, you had better pack a quality set of headphones. The tiny speakers on this machine are terrible sounding. Again, no big surprise.

Now, about battery life. I don’t know who was in charge of defining this aspect of this machine, but they need a checkup from the neck up. Battery performance on this machine is absolutely unacceptable. Unless you tune the system down significantly, it is very difficult to squeeze more than an hour of real usable time out of this system’s battery life. The manufacturer states that it will run for 1.5 hours on the battery. I’ve never been able to get more than an hour out of the unit. In this day and age, this is not acceptable. Fortunately, there are very few occasions when I need to use this system where I’m not close to a power outlet.

My only other major complaint is the lack of expandability of this system. You get two SODIM memory card slots (filled with 256MBx2 sticks from the factory), three USB 2.0 ports and a Type II PCMCIA slot on this machine, and that’s it. No internal expansion capabilities, no firewire, no serial or parallel connections, and you cannot swap out the combo drive easily. Given the price range of this system, I’m really not surprised, but I am a bit disappointed. Fortunately, there are an abundance of USB adapters available that allow me to do whatever is needed.

If you just need a basic system for work or school related tasks the Acer Aspire 3004WLCi is a solid performer that can handle average use with ease. I would definitely recommend this unit to college students or traveling professionals who need an inexpensive, user-friendly laptop, but who do not plan on using their laptop on batteries very often, or who do not intend on playing many games or movies. For the price conscious consumers out there, this system is definitely worth the money. In my humble opinion, you get more than what you pay for, but not by much.

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